Egypt squash stars proud to contest final of historic event in Saudi Arabia

Updated 14 January 2018
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Egypt squash stars proud to contest final of historic event in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Egypt star and world No. 1 Nour El-Sherbini said she was “extremely proud” to be crowned the first Professional Squash Association Saudi Women’s Masters champion after beating compatriot Raneem El-Welily in the final in Riyadh.
In what was the first professional women’s squash tournament ever to take place in Saudi Arabia, El-Sherbini, 22, controlled proceedings to prevail a comfortable 3-0 winner and become the first female athlete in any sport to win a professional tournament staged in the Kingdom.
“I am extremely proud to have been part of this historical tournament,” El-Sherbini told SquashSite. “I want to thank everybody that made this event possible for us, we are blessed to have been part of it.
“I am proud to be the first PSA Saudi Women’s Masters champion — I hope to come back next year to defend my title — and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank HRH Princess Reema and (PSA Chairman) Ziad Al-Turki and the crowd that came and supported us all week. We are all very grateful.”
The victory in the PSA World Series event was sweet for El-Sherbini as she lost to El-Welily in the final of last month’s Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship final. It moves her above El-Welily in the PSA World Series Standings and all but guarantees her place at the PSA World Series Finals in June.
“I felt that I was in control but at no time it was easy, even though I was ahead in the score, she was always coming back,” El Sherbini said. “After losing in the World Championship final, this match and this victory means a lot to me. But I know we will have many many more battles.”
El-Welily was disappointed to lose 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 but was just proud to be mark of a landmark event.
“This was an incredibly important tournament,” El-Welily said. “We all want to thank those who have achieved great things by putting on this event. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for the opportunity to play here and to HRH Princess Reema and Ziad Al-Turki for their efforts in making the event happen and the opportunity to play in such an incredible tournament.”


LIVE: Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah gives Pharaohs the lead...

Updated 1 min 26 sec ago
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LIVE: Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 1 - Mohamed Salah gives Pharaohs the lead...

5.30PM: That's given the thousands of Egyptian fans in this Volgograd Arena something to cheer about, and they're the ones making all the noise now.

5.22PM: GOAL - Who else? Mohamed Salah with a wonderful touch chips it into the net to give the Pharoahs a 1-0 lead...

5.20PM: As we've seen for the majority of this tournament, Saudi Arabia keep the ball reasonably well in the first two-thirds ... but they are just lacking that quality needed in the final third to turn possession into goals.

5.12PM: There's one glimmer of hope about this World Cup for Saudi Arabia - according to the statisticians, they boast some one of the best passing accuracy figures at the tournament. Having made 1,107 passes in their two games before today, they boasted an accuracy of 83.9%, just behind Spain on 91.3%. Iran were at the bottom with 61.3%.

5.07PM: Saudi Arabia win their first corner of the match... and it is comfortably cleared by the Egyptian defense. But that was better from the Green Falcons.

5.00PM: Here we go, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's final game of the 2018 World Cup is under way...

4.50PM: Al-Ahli's Alexis Ruano is watching the game and is hoping for a Saudi Arabia win by the looks of it...

Meanwhile, the Egypt fans are in good voice in the stands too...

4.40PM: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi spoke before the match: "It's very easy with hindsight, after the results that we have had, to come up with situations that you'd like to change. But unfortunately we coaches have to take most of our decisions before things pan out.

"We've seen that certain concepts work, we've seen alternatives, we've tried to bring in new players as well, and this experience that we have had specifically in the run-up to this World Cup has been very important."

4.15PM: This must be some sort of record because there is 45 minutes to go until kick-off and we have not spoken about Mohamed Salah yet. The news El-Hadary will start and enter the record books has taken the spotlight away from the "Egyptian King". We reckon that both for him and the rest of the squad that will come as a huge relief. Cominginto this match there were reports Salah was ready to quit international football, such was the circus that his playing/non-playing created — the latest episode of which saw both player and team management deny that rumor.

4PM: EL-HADARY SET TO MAKE HISTORY —  So the last matches of Group A have arrived and while hosts Russia will be battling it out with Uruguay to see who goes though as group winners, the Green Falcons and Egypt have little but pride to play for in Volgograd.

The big team news that has come out so far is that Hector Cuper has had a heart and will start Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. That means El-Hadary will become the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup. Aged 45 years, five months and 12 days he will smash the record currently held by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.

This may be a dead rubber, however, both sides will be keen to get a win. Saudi Arabia are looking for their first World Cup victory since 1994, while the Pharaohs are searching for their first win in the tournament ever.